Calculate Your Guinea Pig’s Age in Human Years

guinea pig and new kicksImage courtesy of kitkatherine
You might think calculating your guinea pig’s age in human years is as easy as multiplying your pet’s age by 10 but that doesn’t work out as one would expect. For example, how many toddlers do you know are capable of reproducing? How many pregnant senior citizens do you know? Figuring out a guinea pig’s relative age to a human involved a lot of factors but lets discuss some key points in the cavy lifetime.

BIRTH
Your guinea pig is born ready for the world. Pups, as baby guinea pigs are called, have their eyes open, are covered in fur, and ready to go. I have seen pups able to drink from a water bottle and eat hay within hours of being born. It’s pretty amazing. In this way, guinea pigs have more in common with a toddler than a human baby right from the start.

SEXUAL MATURITY
Guinea pigs reach sexual maturity as early as 3 weeks old. They can also get pregnant well into their senior years although it gets less and less successful as your guinea pig ages. Pregnancy can be difficult or even deadly if a sow is pregnant for the first time beyond 6 months of age.

guinea pig age in human yearsGuinea Pig Today
GROWTH
Your guinea pig will continue to grow in size until they are about a year old. Some breeds stop growing sooner and some have an extended growth phase. It’s important during this time for them to eat a variety of foods and maintain a healthy diet so their body has an opportunity to maximize development.

GOLDEN YEARS
After age four, your guinea pigs are usually considered members of the senior club. You’ll notice your cavies slowing down and having trouble with ramps. Genetic health issues will appear and the long term effects of their daily diet and exercise will show. Veterinary visits are very important at this age to diagnose health issues before they become a problem.

These landmarks give us a good idea of where to place markers on a guinea pig’s timeline relative to our own. Guinea pigs grow very fast at first and once they reach about a year of age, you’ll notice health issues that might have been there from birth have settled into a routine. Your guinea pig might coast through their prime from ages one through three with few problems. Around age four, reoccurring problems are more of an issue and around age five your routine might change as you adjust to medications and alter the cage layout to compensate for ongoing issues. When caring for a senior guinea pig, you will need to be more mindful and accommodating of your pet’s changing needs.

The Guinness book of World Records recorded that the oldest guinea pig was Snowball from Nottinghamshire, England. In February 1979, Snowball died at the age of 14 years and 10 months. Other unverified accounts have had guinea pigs living even longer. While their time with us is relatively short, guinea pigs can give us many years of happiness with proper care. However, if you find your guinea pig turns 35 and is still living at home, it might be the proper time to tell him he needs to find a job and start paying his fair share.


If you have a great idea for an article about guinea pigs, please let us know. Guinea Pig Today is a network of guinea pig lovers and we’re always looking for the next great story. View our submissions page for more information on how to submit your idea.

Angela, Editor-in-Chief, GPT

Angela founded Guinea Pig Today and guest writes for CavyMadness. She volunteers with Metropolitan Guinea Pig Rescue and supports the ROUS Foundation. Her guinea pig, Papua, is the star of WHEK-TV/DT.

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Comments
5 Responses to “Calculate Your Guinea Pig’s Age in Human Years”
  1. Karine Jans says:

    At the age of 3 months, they go into puberty and therefore are at a human age of 12. At the age of 10 months, puberty stops and that matches an age of 18 years. So, in fact, a pig gets 20 years old in human age in year 1. By the time it’s 5, it matches 65 years. By the time it’s 8, it’s 80. So, the years don’t go up linear to match ours.£

    Rex develop later than the other breeds. They get their full posture at 24 months of age.

  2. Christine Lam says:

    I adopted my first guinea pig LorLor when she was 3 months old, with another boy of same age. The boy passed away at 3.5yo while LorLor is still here with us, at her 6yo3m. Since the boy passed away, LorLor also started to emit health warnings as well. Repeated episodes of bloat, and a few times almost at edge of ddeath. Regular visit to exotic vet and vet hospital overnight stays. Besides the cage it always prepared with Critical Care (and this girl only eats the one with applebanana flavor even if she is in frail…), motility drug, probiotics and metacam. My dear mom always refers her as “the elderly of our home”.

  3. SWD says:

    Most of mine are around the 3-4 year mark and I have 1 girl who is 8, she has recently retired her position as herd queen to her adopted neice who is the next oldest at 4 and best choice for the next matriarch. Old Sugar has moved inside with one of my other girls who is blind due to on going eye issues and they are very happy together living in my kids old portable cot in the spare room. Suagr’s back legs don’t work for her as well as they did a year or so ago, she has had a great life with her sister who died a year ago and her aunty who was the previous matriarch and her mentor since she was an very young piggy, she died in 2010 at 8 years of age but Sugar had been boss pig for around a year b4 that happened as aunty Bonnie was slowing right down due to age and a weak heart. Sugar is most happy living as a duo with Lalique and has a comfy retirement to look forward to.

  4. Chelsea says:

    The 12 weeks equals a human 12 year old is very accurate. After that, every one of our months is a piggy year. My patrioch of our piggy family turned 77 this month & while he has slowed down some, he’s frienflier & more responsive to petting & cuddles.

  5. Anon says:

    My sow is 12, hope she lives another 3 years!

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